Not being afraid

As Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche summarizes: “Ultimately, that is the definition of bravery: not being afraid of yourself.” Believing the seemingly non-stop, discursive commentary that courses through our heads simply interferes with letting ourselves be the brave beings we actually are. Such hyper-vigilance stems from fear, of course: “If I don’t check myself constantly, won’t I make a mistake?”

Letting go of incessantly measuring and comparing ourselves to others leads to spontaneous acts of courage and compassion. It’s like learning a dance step well enough that we no longer need to keep looking down at our feet.

Gaylon Ferguson, Natural Bravery

Finding your own way

We tend to focus on, and speak about the soul life of an individual in terms of spiritual comfort and deep nourishment…. but the equally unsettling and disturbing quality about this strange, often wild and courageous faculty of belonging inside us we have come to name ‘the soul’, is its ruthless, and almost tidal wish to find its own way to a full union with the world.

The soul is a planner’s nightmare, the biographer’s conundrum, an internal abiding spring that is both a source and a continual unstoppable flow, an internal stranger at the door of our outer life about to break everything apart and leave; a pilgrim suddenly more in love with the horizon than its home; and most disturbingly, someone who is willing to fail, often spectacularly, at their own life rather than succeed drably at someone else’s.

David Whyte

Reset your compass

When you’re overwhelmed by illness or loss, by the conflicts around you, when you feel you are lost in the darkness, sometimes all you can do is to breathe consciously and gently with your pain and anguish and know that with this simple gesture you are resetting the compass of your heart, no matter your circumstances.

By taking that one simple, mindful breath, you will return again to compassion and realize that you are more than your fears and confusions.

Jack Kornfield

The language of descent

On this Good Friday in these pandemic times….

We seldom go freely into the belly of the beast. Unless we face a major disaster like the death of a friend or spouse or loss of a marriage or job, we usually will not go there. As a culture, we have to be taught the language of descent. That is the great language of religion. It teaches us to enter willingly, trustingly into the dark periods of life. These dark periods are good teachers. Religious energy is in the dark questions, seldom in the answers. Answers are the way out, but that is not what we are here for. But when we look at the questions, we look for the opening to transformation. Fixing something doesn’t usually transform us. We try to change events in order to avoid changing ourselves. We must learn to stay with the pain of life, without answers, without conclusions, and some days without meaning. 

Richard Rohr